Office Best Friends: Employee Referral New Best Practice

June 8, 2015 Deb Broderson

Employee referral programs and friendsGrab your best buddy and take a selfie break (if you haven’t already) because it’s National Best Friends Day! If you’re lucky, he or she might be just a cubicle away.

With the everyday stress associated with your typical 9-5, having an office mate may be the key ingredient you or your employees need to a successful career. Research conducted by Gallup in 2014 shows that having strong social connections at work boosts employee productivity, passion, satisfaction, and retention rates.

According to a 2012 Gallup report, 50 percent of employees that had a best friend at work felt a strong association with their company. This contrasts sharply with the mere 10 percent of employees who reported having a meaningful company connection without having a best friend at work.

Promoting office camaraderie is oftentimes overlooked and not always a point of emphasis for employers, but as leadership author Christine Riordan writes in one Harvard Business Review article:

“Camaraderie is more than just having fun… It is also about creating a common sense of purpose and the mentality that we are in it together. Studies have shown that soldiers form strong bonds during missions in part because they believe in the purpose of the mission, rely on each other, and share the good and the bad as a team. In short, camaraderie promotes a group loyalty that results in a shared commitment to and discipline toward the work.”

As an employer it is essential to take this into account when hiring new employees. Indeed, regardless of department, full-time/ part-time status, experience, hierarchy, etc., employees are ultimately working together to accomplish a similar goal. If they are not working well as a team, then it typically shows in  unmet business objectives. Some questions to ask or at least have outlined before expanding your team may be:

1) What is our company culture, and will this person be a fit?

2) How will we encourage employees to refer their qualified friends for open positions?

3) Have we considered the idea of a Social Employee Referral Program?

With Millennials populating more than 1/3 of the U.S. labor force, perhaps the last question is worth additional reflection. With that said, it’s crucial to think of your target audience when considering an Employee Referral Program. If more than half of your employees are under the age of 30, odds are they will have multiple social networks with a multitude of qualified prospects readily available and looking for work. In this case, using a gamified, social employee referral program is your best plan of action.

Moral of the Story? Best Friends at Work is the new Best Practice.

About the Author

Deb Broderson

Deb Broderson comes to Perks with 30 years of diverse experience leading channel marketing, marketing operations and program management teams within the technology industry. Deb has provided strategic direction to Fortune 500 clients, developed and executed global, multi-channel, go-to-market strategies and created worldwide field marketing organizations. Deb has worked on both the agency and client-side of the business, providing a well-rounded perspective to client challenges. Deb was honored as one of the Top 50 Channel Chiefs in North America by CRN.

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